Friday, January 11, 2013

Remembering Ol' One-Shot

The brouhaha over that awful expression 'gun control', the ranting, the raving, the mad-dog personalities pro and con send me away to find a quieter place and time.  Thus I found this passage from Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird."  The passage occurs just after Atticus Finch has killed a dangerous mad dog with one shot, leaving his children surprised by this unknown talent in their father.

"Forgot to tell you the other day that besides playing the Jew's Harp,  Atticus Finch was the deadest shot in Maycomb County in his time."
"Dead shot..." echoed Jem.
"That's what I said, Jem Finch.  Guess you'll change your tune now.  The very idea, didn't you know his nickname was Ol' One-Shot when he was a boy?  Why, down at the Landing when he was coming up, if he shot fifteen times and hit fourteen doves he'd complain about wasting ammunition."
"He never said anything about that," Jem muttered.
"Never said anything about it, did he?"
"No, ma'am."
"Wonder why he never goes huntin' now," I said.
"Maybe I can tell you," said Miss Maudie.  "If your father's anything, he's civilized in his heart.  Marksmanship's a gift of God, a talent - oh, you have to practice to make it perfect, but shootin's different from playing the piano or the like.  I think maybe he put his gun down when he realized that God had given him an unfair advantage over most living things.  I guess he decided he wouldn't shoot till he had to, and he had to today."
"Looks like he'd be proud of it," I said.
"People in their right minds never take pride in their talents," said Miss Maudie.

No comments:

Post a Comment